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On a Mission to Advocate for the Visually Impaired
The exterior of Langdell Hall, Harvard Law SchoolJameyanne Fuller has always been visually impaired. She has always had a “can-do” attitude and has always made life work on her own terms. After experiencing discrimination and a lack of awareness in the general public, she decided to take on the challenge. She is attending Harvard Law School to become a disability rights lawyer in order to effectively advocate for herself and others living with a disability. Read more about her accomplishments and the drive to succeed at Harvard in this article.

We have programs that may be of use to you. Visit our Programs Page to learn more.

Blind 25-Year-Old Starting Harvard Law School to Make a Difference for Others: 'I Had to Advocate for Myself Every Day'

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Living Blind, Personal Stories | 1 Comment(s)
Showing that blindness is just another obstacle to beat
Lush green grass and trees stand in front of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.Dan Berlin has run the Grand Canyon, crossed the Inca Trail and climbed Kilimanjaro all in the name of encouraging kids who are visually impaired to consider blindness as just another obstacle to beat.

Dan takes on these adventures with a team who encourage each other over the duration of the challenge and help each other in whichever way necessary from guiding Dan helping each other overcome exhaustion and pain.

After completing each challenge, Dan’s team volunteers at local organizations that are set up to help blind and visually impaired children. They spend time with the kids showing them that anything is possible.

Read more about Dan and his team in this article.

If you are experiencing vision loss, learn more about the programs we have that can help you.

He’s run the Grand Canyon and crossed the Inca Trail. Now, this blind Colorado man has climbed Kilimanjaro.

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Blind Living Skills, Living Blind, Living Independently, Personal Stories | View Post
Seven marathons on seven continents in seven days
A group of men all dressed in running gear run down a wet street lined with spectatorsSinéad is a young woman on a mission: to be the first blind athlete to accomplish the World Marathon Challenge, a task that requires completion of seven marathons on seven continents in seven days. An exhausting mission for anyone, Sinéad will be accompanied by her guide to help her through the marathons in varying climates and altitudes.

Learn about her goal and how she feels about her visual impairment in this article.

If you are experiencing vision loss, we have programs to help you adapt. Visit First Steps After Vision Loss to learn more about this popular program.

YOUGHAL’S SINÉAD AIMS TO TAKE ON THE WORLD

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Blind Living Skills, Living Blind, Personal Stories | 2 Comment(s)
Accessibility enables people
A screen full of code for webpage creation is displayed on a monitor“Accessibility enables people with disabilities to perceive, understand, navigate, interact with, and contribute to the web.” And this article explains that creating accessible web pages doesn’t hinder creativity or innovation. It goes on to explain easy fixes to make pages more accessible such as not relying solely on color to show something, ensuring that enough contrast is used and avoiding making viewers hover over specific areas in order to find information and links. Though written specifically for web designers, some of the information is helpful for people who run their own small blog or want to know more about accessibility.

Do you have any other advice that would make web pages more accessible? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

7 Things Every Designer Needs to Know About Accessibility

Posted in Assistive Technology, Low Vision, Visually Impaired | 2 Comment(s)
The life story of Louis Braille is now a musical production highlighting his important contributions
The seating area of a theater with red flip seats.A new musical debuting in London, England, recognizes the contributions of Louis Braille and the difference he made in the lives of visually impaired people around the world with his creation of the Braille system of reading and writing. Well known theater actors will grace the stage to highlight the life of Louis Braille.

Here’s hoping the play does well so that it moves to international stages. Read more about those involved in the creation of the play in this article.

If you are experiencing vision loss, contact us to learn how we can provide assistance. Visit our Contacts page to get all our contact information.




Thom Southerland to Direct World Premiere of New Musical Inspired by the Story of Louis Braille


Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | 3 Comment(s)
A map for all Californians
A blank map outlines the state of CaliforniaA map can be a useful tool to give directions, but it can also come in handy to understand the geography and topography of a region. MAD Lab has just completed a huge map of California to help those who are visually impaired or have low vision fully explore a map of the state.

Designers discuss the difficulties and the issues that they grappled with in making the map in this article. Finding ways to make the names readable overtop of the textures being used for mountains and water posed one challenge initially, but, as you will read, it was overcome with some redesigning. 

If you are blind or visually impaired, we have assistive technology that might be of use to you for sale in our Store

See California Like Never Before: MAD Lab creates its largest low vision and tactile map yet

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Living Blind, Living Independently | 6 Comment(s)
A call to the fashion industry to please include people with disabilities
A female model struts on a fashion runway in a light blue floor length dressThe Fashion Industry is notorious for idolizing only stereotypical “picture perfect” models. In recent years, many people have called for a change. It appears that the call is slowly being heard.

This article highlights three times that people with different disabilities were featured in 2016 from adaptive clothing by brand names to runway models featuring disabilities. It also calls for more of the same in 2017. “According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about one in five Americans live with disabilities”. To not have these people visible in the fashion industry isn’t acceptable and we hope the trend of change grows. 

If you are living with vision loss, we have programs that can help you adapt. Visit our Programs page for more information.

3 Times the Fashion Industry Celebrated People With Disabilities in 2016 & Why We Need To Do Better Next Year

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Living Independently, Real Life Stories | 1 Comment(s)
Accessibility Needs to Matter
A blue padlock on an old wooden doorAccessibility is a term that’s often thrown around without much thought given to the full meaning behind it.

This article looks at what accessibility means to people with different disabilities in a variety of settings including restaurants, healthcare and banking. It also looks more closely at why we should all care about having more of life be accessible to everyone.

Do you have anything to add to this article on accessibility? Add your comments below. 

Why Accessibility Matters

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post
Gaming undergoes adaptive changes
A white xbox controllerGaming hasn’t been terribly accessible to blind and visually impaired people in the past. But of course, that hasn’t stopped some passionate gamers from enjoying whatever parts of it they can. Recently though, more games are being created that are accessible in full or in part, to the visually impaired gaming community. Many can be enjoyed by sighted and non sighted individuals making it more fun to play together.

Read this article and watch the videos to learn more about the adaptive ways people are playing and what is being created now for visually impaired gamers.

If you are a gamer, share how you have adapted gaming to suit your needs in the comment section.

The ingenious ways that video games are being played by the blind

Posted in Assistive Technology, Blind Living Skills, Visually Impaired | View Post
Running again to deal with vision loss
A group of people in running gear run together in a marathon race. The group is shown from the chest down.Chaz Davis has a hereditary condition that has taken most of his sight over the past decade. As a younger man, Chaz ran track at school and did well. But after his vision started to deteriorate, he stopped running altogether. After a time though, he realized he had to stay mentally and physically healthy, so he took up running again. Now he runs with guides and made it to the Paralympics in Rio last summer as well as other races around the country.

Read more about Chaz and his achievements in this article.

If you are experiencing vision loss, we have programs that may help such as First Steps After Vision Loss

Blind Marathoner’s Debut Sets An American Record That Would Have Nabbed Him Gold in Rio

Posted in Blind Living Skills, Emotional Adjustment to Vision Loss, Real Life Stories, Vision Loss | View Post
Myths about blindness dispelled
A close up shot of a blond womans eyeIn this article, which includes a video, 16 myths about blindness are dispelled including what visually impaired people see and if a person is completely blind, what the absence of sight is like.

Without education and awareness, small ideas can get turned into hurtful or damaging myths that are passed along. It’s important for the general population to understand what having a visual impairment does and doesn’t mean. Watch the video here.

 If you are experiencing vision loss and would like to talk to someone, please contact us.

Do Blind People Dream? Myths and Misconceptions About Blindness You Shouldn’t Believe

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Visually Impaired | 1 Comment(s)
What a visually impaired person sees is represented in art
Gray and white splatters of paint on a black canvasTo better understand what a visually impaired person sees, Refinery 29 spoke with five blind or visually impaired women. They interviewed the women about what they ‘see’ and came up with a photo to represent the description. They then photographed the women to show the difference between what the women see and what the world sees.

This beautiful compilation is available here. The interviews are detailed and explain the images.

Visit our First Steps After Vision Loss Page to learn more about how we can help.

Ten Images That Will Change How You Imagine Blindness

Posted in Blindness, Real Life Stories, Visually Impaired | 1 Comment(s)
Including visually impaired children in holiday traditions
A young boy stands in the snow with a Santa hat covering his eyes. He is holding a candy cane nearly as big as he is.Having a child who is visually impaired means that you may want to adjust a few things during the holidays to help them more fully experience the traditions that everyone else is witnessing.

The writer of this article is a mother of a deafblind child and gives 10 ideas for how to provide tactile ways to include a child in the holiday traditions. They are all low cost, low stress, high impact ideas that you can undertake together.

Do you have any other ideas to share? Add yours in the comment section. 

10 Ways to Include You Child in the Christmas Fun




Posted in Blind Living Skills, Living Blind | 1 Comment(s)
Three things you need to know about people who live with a disability
Brown and blue splotches of colorSachin Pavithran has been blind since he was a child, but hasn’t let that change the way he lives life, the things he accomplishes or his attitude.

In this article, he talks about three things he wishes society understood about people who have disabilities or are visually impaired. He touches on not wanting pity, being contributing members of society and the ability to lead ‘normal’ lives.

If you are experiencing vision loss, we have programs to help. Visit our Programs Page for an overview. 

‘I define who I am’ USU employee talks blindness, society’s perceptions

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Living Blind, Personal Stories | 2 Comment(s)
The world of a blind competitive skier
2 skiers stand at the top of a mountain poised to start their decent“The fear does creep into your heart and into your mind and you have to just harness your inner strength and let it go,” says U.S. Paralympic alpine ski racer Danelle Umstead about skiing blind.

In this video, she explains how her husband guides her down the hill during a race and how she started in the sport. Danelle is an inspiring woman with amazing skills and a “can-do” attitude that we should all try to adopt.

If you are experiencing vision loss, we have programs that can help you adjust. Visit our Programs Page for more information. 

This professional skier is blind

Posted in Blind Living Skills, Living Blind, Real Life Stories | 1 Comment(s)
New regulations make the cinema experience accessible
Rows of red, plush cinema seats.Attorney General Loretta Lynch has just signed a final rule stating that cinemas must own, maintain and advertise aids to customers with disabilities. This includes closed captioning for deaf movie goers and audio descriptions for visually impaired patrons.

With companies such as Sony providing subtitle glasses, the new rule shouldn’t be difficult to follow and will offer people, who may not otherwise have enjoyed the full theater experience, an enjoyable night out.

Read more about the new regulation here.

If you are in need of assistive technology to make daily tasks manageable, visit our store.

DOJ: Cinemas must offer tech for blind and deaf customers

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Blind Living Skills, Visually Impaired | View Post
Visually impaired scientist pioneers audio version of visual field
A burst of orange in a starry night sky.Wanda Merced was an astronomer in her early 20s when she started losing her sight. But she didn’t let that stop her from pursuing her passion. She found a way to hear the stars through sonification. She is now a sonic astrophysicist using a technique that she developed.

About pioneering the method and working in a previously visual field, Wanda says, “I think that science is for everyone. It belongs to the people, and it has to be available to everyone because we are all natural explorers. I think that if we limit people with disabilities from participating in science, we’ll sever our links with history and with society.”

Watch her Tedx talk and read more about her science in this article.

Have you started losing your vision? We have a program created specifically to help in the early days. Visit our First Steps After Vision Loss page.

Sonification

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Living Blind, Personal Stories | 1 Comment(s)
Assistive Technology Created From a Random Encounter
A graphic of a human brain overlaid with computer circuitry An encounter with a blind man at a bus stop led two students to create Horus, an assistive technology device that addresses the issues that the man at the bus stop said he regularly encountered.

From facial recognition to navigation, the headset and camera helps a visually impaired person in daily tasks. The more it’s used, the smarter it becomes claim the creators.
Learn more about this assistive technology in this article.

We have a store where we sell assistive devices. Visit our store here.

Wearable tech that acts as a personal assistant for blind people

Posted in Assistive Technology, Living Independently | View Post
Braille Letters from Santa for Visually Impaired Children
Santa sits at a desk with a pen writing Santas List in this drawingSanta Claus is a part of our Christmas story as children and many of us remember writing letters to Santa and waiting for a reply. But visually impaired children may not be able to read Santa’s letter themselves. Unless you use this service from Braille Works that provides Braille and large print letters from Santa to your child.

To ensure the letter is received before Christmas, please make your request before December 18th. Find out more about this service by visiting this page.

What are your favorite holiday traditions? Share yours in the comment section. 

Letters from Santa Claus in Braille

Posted in Living Blind | 1 Comment(s)
Accessible Outdoor Trails That Enjoyed By All Abilities
A young woman with a backpack walks through a forested area heading away from the cameraAccessible nature trails are becoming more popular around the country. In Massachusetts a new trail has been opened which is accessible to the visually impaired as well as people with mobility issues.

Guide ropes help those with low or no vision find their way down the trail. Braille posts give explanations of where on the trail they are and what the surrounding area is like. Smooth wide trails help to avoid tripping hazards and also make the path accessible to those in wheelchairs.

Read more about this accessible trail and how it came to be in this article.

If you are experiencing vision loss, we can help you adjust. Visit our First Steps After Vision Loss Page to learn more.

‘All Persons Trails’ For Nature Seekers With Disabilities Grow in Mass.

Posted in Blind Living Skills, Living Independently, Visually Impaired | View Post
Quiet cars now required to meet certain noise levels for safety of others
A white electric car is rechargingDespite multiple delays, there are now rules in place stating that all vehicles must emit a certain level of noise. “Quiet cars” will be required to sound alerts when traveling at low speeds.

There have been concerns for the safety of visually impaired people and bicyclists with the use of electric and hybrid vehicles. At slower speeds, these types of cars are nearly silent so that many can’t hear their approach and may attempt to cross in front of a moving vehicle.

Read more about the rules that are being implemented here and the reason for the rules.

If you are experiencing vision loss, learn more about the ways in which we can help by visiting our Programs page.

Electric cars have to make to make noise so they don’t kill us

U.S. Rule Requires Sound Alerts on Quiet Electric, Hybrid Cars
 

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | 1 Comment(s)
Soundscapes add to the landscapes of a visually impaired artist
tall, wild grass, green and gold in colour on a hill against a cloudy skyWith the help of Microsoft, Scottish landscape artist Keith Simon has added sound to his landscapes in an interactive format. As a user moves in front of his art, different audio tracks are played to further illustrate his work. He currently has three paintings that have been adapted to work with the soundscape environment.

Read more about Simon’s work in this article.

Have you visited an art installation where music or other sounds play a part in the experience? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

Microsoft helps blind artist add soundscapes to his landscapes

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Real Life Stories | 5 Comment(s)
Low Vision and Visual Impairments Can Be Misunderstood
A woman with a backpack walks down a busy street with other pedestrians, busses and scooters around her.When people think of blindness as a complete lack of vision, but according to this article, 93% of visually impaired people retain some usable vision. This can create unwelcomed responses from people who expect that a person with a white cane will have no vision at all.

The author discusses her visual impairment and some of the responses people have had to the limited vision she has. She also talks about her decision to start using a white cane

If you are experiencing vision loss, we have programs to help. Visit our First Steps After Vision Loss page.

The Way I See It: Living with Partial Blindness

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Emotional Adjustment to Vision Loss, First Steps After Vision Loss, Low Vision, Visually Impaired | 1 Comment(s)
The Blind Film Critic Addresses Being in the Dark
A small white house stands alone in a field. All the windows are lit by the lights inside.Tommy Edison, The Blind Film Critic became known for his reviews of movies from a blind person’s perspective, but lately, his popularity has been growing as he addresses questions that people want to know about the visually impaired.

In this short video, Tommy answers the question, “do blind people turn on their lights when they’re home alone?” His explanations are always honest and slightly comical too.

If you are experiencing vision loss, visit our Programs Page to learn about the services we offer. 

Do blind people turn on their lights at home?

Posted in Living Blind, Visually Impaired | View Post
Parenting a visually impaired child while nurturing confidence
Two little girls in dresses walk across a bridge into a meadow away from the cameraAlthough Charlotte grew up visually impaired, it took her a long time to understand that she was different because of the way her family treated her. In this article, Charlotte discusses her childhood and the positive ways in which her family helped her to become a successful, independent adult. She also suggests ways in which to treat a child who is visually impaired to nurture independence and confidence within him. 

Do you have any tips to add to Charlotte’s article? Share your thoughts in the comment section. 

Fostering positivity and confidence in your blind child

Posted in Living Blind, Visually Impaired | View Post
Everything changed - all for the better
A cut lemon sits on a glass citrus juicerSteph Cutler was in her 20s when her vision started to change and she was told she likely had only months before she was completely blind.

As a fashion designer, she didn’t feel able to continue her job without sight. She quit her job and had to learn to do tasks she had always taken for granted. But her upbeat attitude helped her push through and gave her the drive to start her own business to train people in disability awareness in the workplace and making the recruitment process open to people with disabilities. Making Lemonade was opened and Steph continues to use her experience and skills to help others.

Read more about Steph and why she says “everything changed, all for the better” here.

Learn how we can help you adjust to vision loss with our First Steps After Vision Loss Program

Going blind in your 20s: When life sends lemons, make lemonade

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Emotional Adjustment to Vision Loss, Living Blind, Living Independently, Personal Stories, Vision Loss | 1 Comment(s)
Is blindness living in the dark
Lines of color streak across a black background verticallyMany people who live without any visual impairment have the mistaken notion that all blind people live in perpetual darkness. Most sighted people close their eyes and see only black and may expect the same is true for a blind individual.

This article from the BBC interviews a journalist who lost all vision after a surgery that didn’t go as expected. He describes what he misses about his sight as well as what he “sees” instead of darkness.

Our First Steps After Vision Loss program helps you adjust. Learn more here

Do blind people really experience complete darkness?

Posted in Blindness, Living Blind, Personal Stories | 1 Comment(s)
Blind Television Journalist Advocates for People with Disabilities at the United Nations
The word NEWS is spelled out in Scrabble letters on a wooden table.Veronica Gonzalez Bonet is a television journalist in Argentina who has won awards for her work and her advocacy for people with disabilities. She recently spoke at the United Nations about her experiences as a person with a disability in such a public position.

Her career has been varied working behind the scenes before transitioning to the person in front of the camera.

She uses Braille and assistive technology to write and edit her pieces needing help only if visuals are required for her segment.

Learn more about Veronica and her experiences as a television journalist in this article

If you are experiencing vision loss, visit our Programs Page to learn more about the services we provide. 

Meet Argentine Journalist Veronica Gonzalez Bonet, the only visually impaired television journalist in the Americas

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Living Blind, Real Life Stories | 2 Comment(s)
Advice on Guiding a Visually Impaired Athlete on Race Day
Hundreds of people run along a road that leads up a hill in a street race.The Wall Street Journal recently interviewed sighted running guides and people who are visually impaired and rely on a guide to stay safe while running. This article that came out of those interviews, provides information and helpful tips for people who are thinking about guiding a visually impaired athlete.

It’s interesting to get the perspective of the guides and read about the change in their attitude towards a race while guiding. The tips on how to verbally guide could be helpful for any type of guiding.

Have you been guided or been a guide? What tips would you add to the Wall Street Journal’s list? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. 

Tips for Guiding a Blind Runner in a Marathon

Posted in Blind Living Skills, Personal Stories, Real Life Stories, Visually Impaired | View Post
Hiring people with disabilities is on the rise thanks to government targets
A stick figure stands in front of a desk and computerIn 2010, President Obama stated that the government should be a model employer by hiring more people living with disabilities. The government set a target that they needed to meet: 100,000 new employees with disabilities before 2015.

A recent government announcement states they have now surpassed their initial goal with the hiring of 154,000 employees with disabilities. Read more from the government announcement.

With the country’s largest employer now boasting more than 14% of their workforce has a disability, we hope that other employers will quickly follow their lead.

If you are experiencing vision loss and are looking for assistance with employment, we have programs to help such as our Employment Training Services.

Feds exceed disability hiring goal

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired | View Post
A business based on the stars
A dark sky with millions of stars that make up the Milky Way.Although Tim Ducette has very limited vision, he is able to discern the stars and planets in the night sky. Tucked away in a quiet corner of Canada, there is very little light pollution making it the perfect place to experience our little piece of the universe.

After his wife bought him a telescope and he found that he could see more than expected through the lens, Tim set up a social media account to share his finds. Now he also hosts tourists who want to learn more about what can be seen in the night skies. Read more about Tim’s experience here.  

If you are experiencing vision loss, we have programs to help you adjust. Visit our Programs page to learn more. 

Star light, star bright: Visual impairment won’t stop Tim Ducette from living his dream

Posted in Low Vision, Real Life Stories | View Post
Trying out a disability - helpful or harmful
A silhouette of a woman pushing a man in a wheelchairDisability simulations have become more popular. We’re hearing about people dining in the dark, mayors being blindfolded and led around town and able bodied people using wheelchairs in the mall. The idea behind these simulations is to give people an idea of what a person with a disability goes through and how hard it can be to do daily tasks that some take for granted.
In this article, the author shares both sides of the simulations and how they help as well as why they may be giving a skewed version of a disability rather than an accurate picture of how life is when you are blind or in a wheelchair.

How do you feel about disability simulations? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section. 

Why disability simulations don’t always help you understand a disability, from someone who actually has one

Posted in Living Blind | View Post
A visually impaired personal trainer encourages everyone to accept our differences
A woman stands with her back to the camera at a weight machine Many who live with a visual impairment find that keeping physically fit is difficult. But Arvin Carandang took his physical health in a different direction and became a personal trainer.
 
With some usable vision, Arvin employs assistive technologies, including a magnification app on his phone, to ensure that clients are using the right weight for various exercises and keeping their form correctly during a workout.
 
He encourages everyone to look past his disability and see him as a person who has the same skills as any sighted personal trainer. Watch the video of Arvin’s interview.
 
What do you do to keep physically fit? Share your methods in the comment section.
 
Personal trainer embraces passion despite visual impairment

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Blind Living Skills, Living Independently, Personal Stories, Visually Impaired | View Post
A piano does not care if you are blind
A close up shot of piano keysMichelle Lamm was born without sight. A keen musician, she learned to tune pianos at school relying on her hearing and skills in music to ensure her work is top-notch. As a Registered Piano Technician, she has all the same skills you would find in a sighted piano tuner.
 
Since the 1800s, piano tuning is a field in which blind and visually impaired people have been employed. So Michelle is not alone in her chosen field. Nonetheless, her determination, musical abilities and her skills in running her own business are impressive.
 
If you are experiencing vision loss, we have programs to help you adjust. Visit our Programs Page.
 
Blindness never stopped Michelle Lamm

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Living Blind, Personal Stories | View Post
Help a visually impaired child by communicating effectively
A father sits with his young daughter on a picnic blanket outside.When interacting with a child who is visually impaired, it’s important to appropriately and effectively relay your actions and expectations.
 
By following the guidelines set out in this article, you will help the child to feel comfortable in their surroundings and feel able to openly communicate with you.
 
From making sure the child knows you’re in the room or that you’re leaving to describing what is on the plate that you have put in front of him, these tips cover basic communication skills for comfortable interactions.
 
Do you have any tips to add? Share your tip in the comment section.
 
How to communicate with a visually impaired child

Posted in Living Blind, Visually Impaired | View Post
A story collection about more than just blindness
A person sits in the grass holding a KindleA group of seven blind and visually impaired writers recently got together to compile a book of their life experiences.
 
Though what brings them together begins with their visual impairment, they each have entertaining and unique stories to tell.
 
The book is being published by the Kentucky School for the Blind as their third book project. Watch a video of the authors describing some of their stories and why it’s important to share experiences with others in this article.
 
Visit our Programs Page to learn more about the services we offer.
 
We Can Hear You Just Fine: Clarifications from the Kentucky School for the Blind

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Living Blind, Personal Stories | 3 Comment(s)
3D art is more than just a printed replica
A photo depicting Gustav Klimts The KissA museum in Vienna, Austria is working to make art work accessible to the visually impaired. The Kiss, a work by Gustav Klimt that is known for its vibrant color and the texture depicted, has been created in a 3D relief.
 
Deciding to avoid all use of color, the 3D relief is all white with texture used to allow tactile understanding of the piece of art.
 
This museum joins a growing number of facilities around the world that are making major artworks accessible to the visually impaired with either 3D printing, touch tours or audio descriptions.
 
Read more about The Kiss and the group who has made the piece accessible in this article.   
 
Have you attended a museum that has added accessible features? Share your experiences in the comment section below.
 
3D printing lets the blind touch and feel Gustav Klimt’s 1908 masterpiece The Kiss

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Blind Living Skills, Living Independently | View Post
From hockey to electric guitar
A cream colored electric guitar rests on a burgundy clothJared Hara went blind when he was 11 years old. He had been an avid hockey player, but after losing his vision, his parents looked for other avenues in which he could excel. He stumbled upon music and the electric guitar became his new passion.
 
Now a part of Symmetry, a rock band based in California, touring in the UK, Jared is speaking out to encourage other people with visual impairments to follow their dreams because “nothing in this world is impossible.”
 
Read more about what Jared has to say and watch a music video produced by his band in this article.
 
To learn more about how we can help people with vision loss adjust, visit our First Steps After Vision Loss page.
 
Life as a blind guitarist: nothing in this world is impossible

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Blind Living Skills, Emotional Adjustment to Vision Loss, First Steps After Vision Loss, Living Blind, Personal Stories, Vision Loss | View Post
A hands-free interactive cooking app is available for free download
An old fashioned recipe book, the kind that Yes, Chef! hopes to replace, sits on a checkered red and white table cloth.A new hands free cooking app helps people make dinner without ever having to look at a cookbook or touch a screen.
 
The free app allows users to ask questions about the recipe and clarify ingredients. It was originally created for visually impaired cooks to assist them in the kitchen, but it has proved useful for anyone who doesn’t want to stop what they’re doing to read a recipe.
 
Read more about this app and where you can get it for free in this article.
 
 
If you are blind or visually impaired, visit our Online Store to learn about the assistive technology we have available.
 
Yes, Chef! From Conversant Labs talks cooks through recipes

Posted in Assistive Technology, Blindness, Living Independently, Low Vision, Vision Loss Technology | 2 Comment(s)
Visually impaired models take the runway in Paris
A female model in a long yellow dress with a silver bow walks down the runway at a fashion show away from the camera.Using a fine cord to guide them, visually impaired models took to the runway in Paris during Paris Fashion Week earlier this month.
 
Organized by a French-Algerian woman, the fashion show was created to educate the public on visual impairments and to empower women. She said she wanted to “redefine standards of beauty and open people’s hearts and minds” with the show.
 
Read more about the show with all visually impaired and blind models in this article.
 
Share your thoughts on attending a fashion show with visually impaired models in the comment section.
 
Visually impaired models strut the runway in Paris

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Blind Living Skills | View Post
New study delves into breakdancing and the visually impaired
A young man does a breakdancing move on with his body parallel to the ground supported by one hand. A crowd looks on.A group of scientists is looking at how breakdancing is viewed by people with reduced and limited vision. Their theory is that the broad movements and unusual positions used in the dance style are easier for a visually impaired person to process. They also believe that breakdancing can be seen easier than some other forms because many of the moves occur on the floor which may be in a better line of sight for many people with vision loss.
 
The goal of the study focuses on how to make art forms more accessible to the visually impaired.
 
To read more about this study, read the full article here.
 
To learn more about the services we provide to people living with vision loss, visit our Programs page
 
Breakdancing? An unlikely sight for the visually impaired.
 
Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Research | 1 Comment(s)
An Artificial Intelligence partnership from some tech giants
The face of a woman is overlaid with computer circuitsMicrosoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and IBM have joined forces to create Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to Benefit People and Society. It’s a partnership on Artificial Intelligence (AI).
 
They aim to work together to educate the public on the possible applications of AI, work together to address areas of society where AI may be helpful, and consider ethical and legal issues surrounding AI. Read more about the partnership in this article.
 
Already Artificial Intelligence is being used to describe photos uploaded in Facebook to aid visually impaired users. The applications of this partnership lend hope for future assistive technologies.
 
Visit our store to learn about the assistive technologies already in use.
 
Amazon, Google, Facebook, IBM, and Microsoft form AI non-profit

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology | View Post
Virtual reality aiding reality today
A man with a big, red beard wears virtual reality gogglesWe often think of virtual reality as something for video games and fantastical futures that are imagined in books and movies. But virtual reality is already here and there are practical applications for its use.
 
In this article, a legally blind man discusses his visual impairment and how the use of virtual reality helped him see actual reality clearly for the first time.
 
The possibilities for this technology are endless and exciting when you stop to think about what this could mean for many individuals with various disabilities.
 
If you are experiencing vision loss, we can help you adjust. Visit our First Steps After Vision Loss to learn more.
 
Legally blind man sees clearly for the first time ever, thanks to virtual reality

Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Personal Stories, Visually Impaired | View Post
Google introduces photo descriptions
A cartoon of Googles homepageGoogle has recently open-sourced their model for identifying the images in a photo. Boasting a 93.9% accuracy rate, the latest version is their best so far.
 
The tool takes previous experience with similar photos to identify what is happening and who or what is in the picture.
 
It seems similar to Facebook’s artificial intelligence photo descriptions and promises to get more accurate over time.
 
Read more about this new project in this article and how it might be beneficial for blind and visually impaired users.
 
Have you found Facebook’s photo descriptions helpful? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
 
What’s in that photo? Google open-sources caption tool in TensorFlow can tell you

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There is an app for that. Finding the bus stop as a visually impaired person
A cartoon of a sign with a picture of a bus on a crooked pole.A crowd sourcing app has been launched to help visually impaired commuters find the bus stop. Although it sounds simple, finding the actual post or shelter can be tricky. GPS only gets you within 30 feet and that can be the difference between catching the bus or having it drive right by. The app allows other transit users to provide full descriptions of the location of the bus stop to make it easier to find.
 
The app is currently in use only in Massachusetts, but will be introduced to other cities with the community to provide the necessary information. Learn more in this article.
 
Would you find this app useful in your community? Share your answer in the comment section.
 
Bus stop app ‘just the beginning’ for accessibility tech



Posted in Advocacy for Vision Impaired, Assistive Technology, Living Blind | View Post
Math brain. How the brain processes math equations
A hand holds a pen and writes simple math equationsA recent study considered how the brain grasps mathematical tasks. Researchers compared the brain activity of blind individuals with that of sighted individuals while they figured out math problems. Their findings were interesting and showed that blind individuals used the region of the brain typically reserved for sight when doing the calculations while sighted people didn’t.
 
“The big takeaway is that the brain is really flexible but also really resilient,” Kanjlia told me. “The things you wouldn’t necessarily think would change, dochange.”
 
Learn more about the study in this article.
 
If you are experiencing vision loss, we have resources to assist. Visit our programs page to learn more.
 
What math looks like in the mind

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Visually impaired runners and the guides that run with them
A stopwatch is in the foreground with a red track in the backgroundInsider takes an in-depth look at one of the events at the Paralympics: visually impaired track. Because many of those competing in the various visually impaired classes can’t see well enough to get around the track themselves, they must have a guide with them. But how does this work? Who guides the athletes? What kind of relationship must a guide and competitor have in order to succeed?
 
In this article, Insider interviews a runner and his guide to give us a better understanding of track events in the Paralympics.
 
Did you enjoy the Paralympics? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
 
Here’s how blind runners compete in the world’s most elite race

Posted in Blind Living Skills, Living Independently, Real Life Stories | View Post
Living blind as an MMA fighter
2 men practice in a gym with a trainer at the side giving instruction.Mixed Martial Arts, or MMA as fans call it, may not seem the ideal place for a visually impaired guy, but Lee Hoy is proving that’s not the case.
 
Born with very limited vision, Lee was bullied and taunted as a child and grew up feeling fearful and unsure of himself. Four years ago, he walked into a gym that specializes in MMA and his life changed.
 
He now competes against fully sighted competitors without any accommodation given for his visual impairment. In this article, he describes how MMA has changed his life and how he hopes to use his skills to help others conquer their fears.
 
What have you done to overcome fear? Share your tactics in the comment section.
 
Fighting blind: how MMA helped sightless fighter Lee Hoy conquer his fears in and out of the cage

Posted in Blind Living Skills, Living Blind, Real Life Stories | View Post
Reporter piloted by a visually impaired man.
A view of fields from the cockpit of an airplane while flying with some of the planes instruments in the bottom of the frame.A pilot before he began to lose his sight, Jim Platzer decided that retinitis pigmentosa wouldn’t take away his love of flying.
 
He can no longer fly alone, but he can fly with the help of a flight instructor who guides him through the flight using voice commands leaving the controls to Jim.
 
Watch the video of a reporter taking a flight with Jim and his instructor and read more about his experiences as a visually impaired pilot.
 
Learn how we can help people experiencing vision loss adapt to their circumstances.
 
Blind pilot doesn’t let his disability prevent him from his passion

Posted in Blind Living Skills, Emotional Adjustment to Vision Loss, Living Blind, Real Life Stories, Visually Impaired | 1 Comment(s)
Apps to help visually impaired students
A young woman with long brown hair holds a smartphone in her handAlthough this article is highlighting apps for teachers of visually impaired students, the advice is good for anyone who is visually impaired to get a better idea of what is available in the market place.
 
The article lists apps such as Be My Eyes which connects visually impaired people to someone who can help through the use of a phone camera, apps to help with math problems and others that can help by enlarging text. There is something on the list to address a wide range of problems.
 
Visit our online store to learn more about the assistive technology products we have available.
 
8 Good Apps for Visually Impaired Students

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